EU fines Apple nearly $2B over in-app music purchases

Apple’s anti-steering provisions that prevent music streaming apps from directing users outside the App Store for paid services were smacked down in the European Union today and earned the iGiant a fine of more than €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion).

The European Commission said Apple’s policies “amount to unfair trading conditions” and “are neither necessary nor proportionate for the protection of Apple’s commercial interests.”

“Apple will have to open the gates to its ecosystem, to allow end users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want, and use them on any device they want,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said of the decision.

Apple’s anti-steering rules have prevented developers from directing users outside the App Store – thereby circumventing Apple’s 30 percent commission – for in-app purchases and subscriptions. As part of the EC decision, Apple is being forced to end the use of anti-steering provisions in the bloc, but this restriction applies only to music streaming apps, an EC spokesperson told The Register.

Vestager described Apple’s anti-competitive conduct as having gone on for nearly a decade, resulting in iOS users paying “significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions.” The anti-steering provisions also led to a “degraded user experience,” Vestager said, as users were forced to “engage in a cumbersome search” to find cheaper prices outside the App Store because the anti-steering rule also prevented developers from telling users about cheaper prices available elsewhere.


Source: EU fines Apple nearly $2B over in-app purchases • The Register

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